When Boyd Wallbrown Jr. founded Deerfield Ag Services back in 1959, he did so with the intention of helping his friends and neighbors, inspiring innovation, and educating the agricultural community. He was a strong believer in not only the power of innovative thinking but also the tangible benefits of a more well-educated population.
Today, Boyd’s spirit of innovation lives on through the Boyd Wallbrown Jr. Innovation Scholarship, which is awarded each year to eligible students who are pursuing a career in an agricultural field.
Beth Padisak, Boyd’s daughter and co-owner of Deerfield Ag Services, said that the idea for the scholarship came to her and her siblings in 1991, after their father’s passing.
“We wanted to set up a scholarship in his memory. My father was a big believer in education, he really felt that it is very important,” she explains.
“At that time, we didn’t have a lot of funds, but we did start putting away some money. It wasn’t until about four years ago when we were able to fully fund the scholarship and are now able to award $5000 annually.”
Working with the Kent, OH-based Portage Foundation to manage the scholarship, everything was finally in place. The foundation, in cooperation with local high schools, asks students to submit a full application, including a GPA, ACT scores, and an essay. After receiving the Portage Foundation’s recommendation and after careful deliberation, Beth and her siblings choose one or more students to receive the scholarship. A total of $5000 is awarded each year.
“We look at the essay, their grades, their ACT scores, their extracurricular activities, and their financial needs, and what they’re studying. We look for students who are studying ag business and production agriculture,” she says.
Making a positive impact through education is an idea that Boyd strongly believed in, and the scholarship in his name continues that idea today.
“He was a first generation entrepreneur. He was the one who started Deerfield with nothing. My brothers and sisters and I feel the same way as my father did, that education is important. And knowing how expensive education is in this day and age, we’re very thankful that we can help kids that can use the assistance. We feel very blessed and pleased to be able to do this.”
The 2017 Recipients of the Boyd Wallbrown Jr. Agriculture Innovation Scholarship were:
Hannah Jarvis, Jarod Herron, Michael Estock, Joseph Hollback, and Brooklyn Pugh.